Voice for Life applied to the Student Government Association for recognition earlier this year. Student legislators denied the application in March. The group will now appeal that decision before the student justices of the government's judiciary branch.

The Student Government Association released a brief statement that said it stands "by this student-led process and await[s] the results."

Treasurer Michael St. Germain said that many of the privileges available to recognized student groups, such as access to meeting space, are also available to students without recognition. He said recognized groups do have access to funding, but university money is not guaranteed.

Messages for the justices Monday were not returned. Their decision is expected within a week.

If they also withhold recognition, Guernsey says, the group will consider asking Hopkins President Ronald J. Daniels to intervene.

David Rocah, a staff attorney at the American Civil Liberties Union of Maryland, said it the university has the legal right to deny recognition to Voice for Life but would be "profoundly wrong" to do so.

"Even though private colleges and universities are not subject to the First Amendment, they hold themselves out as institutionally committed to the same principle of free speech and free inquiry and respect," he said.

"The student government's actions in denying reorganization to this club because they don't like their form of political protest is offensive, misguided and wrong, and completely antithetical to being an institution that values a diversity of opinions and viewpoints."

Hopkins spokesman Dennis O'Shea said the student government should be "afforded the opportunity to review the earlier decision under its own policies and in light of the university's commitment to broad debate and freedom of expression."

"The Johns Hopkins University is strongly committed to open debate and to the values of free speech and academic freedom," O'Shea said in a statement. "These defining values of American higher education drive us to afford individuals and groups on campus the freedom to advocate for their views. The university's obligation is to create a community where freedom of inquiry and expression thrive."

Kristan Hawkins, president of Students for Life of America, said allowing for open discussion of abortion on colleges campuses is key, because many women working toward a degree will face the decision about whether to carry a baby to term.

"Sadly, [Hopkins] isn't an isolated case," she said. "Regardless of how you feel about ... abortion, don't you think people should have the right to speak up about it?"

Monica Rex, a freshman biomedical engineering major who is working with Guernsey, said Hopkins made an institutional commitment to freedom of speech in the 1800s when it took as its official motto Veritas Vos Liberabit — "The truth will make you free."

"We love Johns Hopkins," said Rex, 19, of Orlando, Fla. "That's why it's important to us that it's a place where we can express different opinions. That's what makes this school so great. It brings together intelligent people so we can have intelligent conversations."